GSM Tower Location and GPS

Gora Mohanty gora at
Wed Jun 25 07:32:51 CEST 2008

On Wed, 25 Jun 2008 09:57:28 +1200
"Robin Paulson" <robin.paulson at> wrote:
> > Here's another idea: Record signal strength and position information for
> > generating a coverage map. We can record tower code, signal strength, and
> > phone location. This information could be used with the Open Street Map data
> > to generate a real-world coverage map. This could also be useful during an
> > emergency in a remote area. Instead of just knowing where the towers are I
> > could look at the coverage map generated from other users.
> >
> > What do you folks think?
> great idea
> some work has already started on a tagging scheme for this, have a
> look on the osm wiki:
> so there are others with the same idea

We were kicking around this idea for a while. There are some problems
that we faced with this when trying to build a generic application:
(a) Many (most?) phones do not give a J2ME programmer easy access to
GSM data (cell ID, LAC, signal strength, etc.) for all visible towers,
though these data can be obtained through serial AT commands, (b) It
is much easier to get GPS data, say from an external bluetooth GPS
device into a J2ME application running on a phone (requires JSR179)

None of these apply to OpenMoko, so I can easily envisage an application
that maps cell towers by sending GPS + GSM data to a central server
over GPRS, or SMS, or storing these data, and syncing it once in a
while. If there is interest in this, we would be glad to collaborate
on a solution.


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